Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Advanced Analytic Techniques -- The Blog! (

Yes, Advanced Analytic Techniques now has a blog. And you can all join in!

I am teaching a graduate seminar in Advanced Analytic Techniques this term. The core of the course is a series of student projects that hyperfocus on the application of a particular analytic technique (such as patent analysis or social network analysis) to a discrete topic (such as the political situation in Turkey or the future of oil and gas exploration in the Caspian Sea). The best of these projects wind up in The Analyst's Cookbook.

Each week, however, in addition to diving deep into these individual techniques and topics, we also work as a group to come to some conclusions about a number of other techniques. In preparation, each of the students selects, reads and summarizes two articles on whichever technique is under the microscope for the week.

They then post these summaries and links to the full text of the articles on our Advanced Analytic Techniques blog. Each Wednesday, we sit down and have a discussion about the readings. We also run a short exercise using the technique. From the combination of discussion and exercise, we try to answer four questions:

  • How do we define this technique?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of this technique?
  • How do you do this technique (Step by step)?
  • What was our experience like when we tried to apply this technique?
Once we think we have pretty good answers to these questions, we post what we have developed to the blog in order to capture our collective thinking on the technique in question.

Obviously, this only serves to familiarize the students with the technique under consideration. The blog format, however, permits us to open this series of exercises up to practitioners, academics and intel studies students at other institutions for comment and additional insights -- which is what I am doing with this post.

Last week we took a look at SWOT and this week we are examining Dialectics/The Socratic Method (summaries of the articles are posted now but the synthesis post will be up late this afternoon).

Don't hesitate to jump in!

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